Over 70 gravestones desecrated, arranged in cross formation at Muslim cemetery in Cape Town - report

A cemetery in Cape Town has been vandalised. (Getty/Gallo Images)
A cemetery in Cape Town has been vandalised. (Getty/Gallo Images)

More than 70 gravestones were desecrated overnight and placed in a cross formation at the Mowbray Muslim cemetery in Cape Town, according to a report on Wednesday.

The head of the Muslim Judicial Council's cemetery management committee, Shaykh Riad Fataar, told the Voice of the Cape radio station that it would get to the bottom of what happened and ensured visible patrols in the area.

He added it was a difficult time for those who have buried their loved ones there and urged people not to share photos or videos showing the names on the gravestones.

On Wednesday, the cemetery's staff told News24 they were trying to sort things out and could not comment.

Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut confirmed that Woodstock police were investigating a case of malicious damage to property.

The City of Cape Town's bylaws state that a person may not "in any way damage, deface or desecrate any part of a cemetery or anything therein".

Those who do face a fine of up to R50 000, six months in jail or both if convicted.

This is not the first time gravestones have been tampered with or damaged in Cape Town and the province.

The George Herald reported that vandals had pushed over the headstones at four graves in the Jewish section of the George cemetery in 2017.

In December last year, 39 graves at the Wellington Jewish cemetery were vandalised, prompting the municipality to erect a boundary wall around the premises, according to IOL.

This year saw at least three more incidents of Jewish graves being targeted and damaged in the Western Cape, Times Live reported.

GroundUp reported in May that family members had reacted with shock to graves being opened and stone slabs moved or removed at Langa cemetery.

- Compiled by Jenna Verster

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